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Lyr Add: Reincarnation (poem - Wallace McRae)

Arkie 24 Jan 00 - 11:27 PM
Harold W 24 Jan 00 - 11:50 PM
Joe Offer 25 Jan 00 - 04:36 AM
KathWestra 25 Jan 00 - 03:14 PM
Metchosin 25 Jan 00 - 04:16 PM
GUEST,Arkie 25 Jan 00 - 06:32 PM
GUEST,stupidbodhranplayer 25 Jan 00 - 06:34 PM
Joe Offer 25 Jan 00 - 06:41 PM
catspaw49 25 Jan 00 - 06:52 PM
Metchosin 25 Jan 00 - 09:52 PM
Arkie 25 Jan 00 - 11:39 PM
GUEST 26 Jan 00 - 08:53 AM
raredance 26 Jan 00 - 06:29 PM
Arkie 26 Jan 00 - 08:14 PM
raredance 26 Jan 00 - 08:21 PM
GUEST,Arkie 27 Jan 00 - 10:47 AM
roopoo 28 Jan 00 - 02:30 AM
Joe Offer 28 Jan 00 - 03:24 AM
Jim Dixon 03 Jan 11 - 02:36 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: REINCARNATION (Wallace McRae)
From: Arkie
Date: 24 Jan 00 - 11:27 PM

Here are the words to a popular cowboy poem which is common at Cowboy gatherings. Don't know how well known it is outside the cowboy circle, but it has been performed by Riders in the Sky and Waddie Mitchell. The poem was written by Wally McRae, a Montana rancher.

REINCARNATION

What is reincarnation? The Cowpoke asked his friend
His pal replied it happens when your life has reached its end
They comb your hair and wash your neck and clean your fingernails
And lay you in a padded box away from life's travails
And the box then goes in a hole that's been dug in the ground
And reincarnation starts in when your're planted neath the mound
Then clods melt down, just like the box, and you who is inside
And then you're just beginning on your transformation ride
Meanwhile the grass will grow upon your rendered mound
And soon upon your lonely grave a single flower is found
And then a horse will wonder by and graze upon flower
That once was you and now become your vegetated bower
The posie that the horse done eat along with his other feed
Makes bone and fat and muscle essential to the steed
But some is left that he can't use and so it passes thru
And finally lays upon the ground this thing that once was you
And say by chance I wanders by, and sees this on the ground
And I ponders and wonders at this object that I've found
And I thinks of reincarnation and life and death and such
And I come away concluding you ain't changed all that much.


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Subject: RE: Reincarnation, Cowboy Poem
From: Harold W
Date: 24 Jan 00 - 11:50 PM

Thank you fro that poem. I have been looking for a copy of it to give to a friend.


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Subject: RE: Reincarnation, Cowboy Poem
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Jan 00 - 04:36 AM

I thought Lee Hays of the Weavers did this one. Anybody know where I might find a recording?
The only one I can find right off is by Riders in the Sky, which is pretty good.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Reincarnation, Cowboy Poem
From: KathWestra
Date: 25 Jan 00 - 03:14 PM

Joe, I'm pretty sure Glen(n?) Ohrlin recorded it. He does it masterfully. Unfortunately I don't have the recording, so can't tell you the title. Maybe somebody else can help out. Kathy


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Subject: RE: Reincarnation, Cowboy Poem
From: Metchosin
Date: 25 Jan 00 - 04:16 PM

Hi Joe, its on Glen Ohrlin's CD "Cowboys Life" which you can find here


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Subject: RE: Reincarnation, Cowboy Poem
From: GUEST,Arkie
Date: 25 Jan 00 - 06:32 PM

I consider Glenn's performance of Reincarnation, the best that I have heard. The Rider's in the Sky dress it up too much. Waddie Mitchell has also recorded it I believe, but still prefer Glenn's version. He is the one I got the poem from. He got it from Wally McRae and usually credits Wally when he performs the piece.


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Subject: RE: Reincarnation, Cowboy Poem
From: GUEST,stupidbodhranplayer
Date: 25 Jan 00 - 06:34 PM

Robin and Linda Williams used to recite this.


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Subject: RE: Reincarnation, Cowboy Poem
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Jan 00 - 06:41 PM

Yeah, but in my mind, I keep hearing the voice of Lee Hays reciting this on a Weavers album and doing a darn good job. I swear I've got it on a recording around here somewhere, but I can't find it. Can anybody reassure me that my memory is not as far gone as it seems?
Maybe I should clean house....
-Joe Offer, lost, as usual-


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Subject: RE: Reincarnation, Cowboy Poem
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 Jan 00 - 06:52 PM

I think Riders play to a far more "generic" audience and tend to ham it up because of it. I was living in Nashville when they first got going there and they were pretty much regulars on the 5AM TV show that Ralph Emery was doing. Three very talented and really funny guys. That AM show was VERY loose and people really got out of hand sometimes. They did all kinds of wacky crap. This was before TNN and Ralph's more national visibility.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Reincarnation, Cowboy Poem
From: Metchosin
Date: 25 Jan 00 - 09:52 PM

While we're on cowboy songs a bit, I received a tape that had a cut of Don Walser singing Cowpoke....absoulutely beautiful. However, I received a CD of his, Texas Top Hand, for Christmas last year and was a little disappointed, not to find more cuts similar to Cowpoke. Can anyone recommend another of his CD's that I might find more in keeping with the song Cowpoke, if there is one?


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Subject: RE: Reincarnation, Cowboy Poem
From: Arkie
Date: 25 Jan 00 - 11:39 PM

I've enjoyed the Riders in the Sky for years, and may have appreciated Too Slim's version of Reincarnation if I had not heard Glenn do it first. I am a little upset with Glenn, however, I had to learn of his new CD from Metchosin. I've seen him a dozen times in the last couple of months and not a word. He sure does not push that kind of stuff. He is probably at the big one in Elko about now.

Joe - did not see any mention of Reincarnation in the Weavers list of recordings on the Folk Index. Perhaps Lee Hays did it under his own name. Did not look for that. Maybe Frank Hamilton could help here.


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Subject: RE: Reincarnation, Cowboy Poem
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 08:53 AM

Joe, you are thinking of the Lee Hayes poem wherein he asks to be composted when he dies so he can come back as veggies. I have a recording of the "Reincarnation" poem that I think is different from those mentioned above, but I will have to find it before saying who done it.

???


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Subject: RE: Reincarnation, Cowboy Poem
From: raredance
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 06:29 PM

IN DEAD EARNEST

(Lee Hays, 1979)

If I should die before i wake,
All my bone and sinew take
Put me in the compost pile
To decompose me for a while
Worms, water, sun, will have their way,
Returning me to common clay
All that I am will feed the trees
And little fishies in the seas.
When radishes and corn you munch,
You may be having me for lunch
And then excrete me with a grin,
Chortling, "There goes Lee again."
'Twill be my happiest destiny
To die and live eternally.

The question may be, did Waddy Mitchell ever read Lee's poem and receive inspiration?

rich r


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Subject: RE: Reincarnation, Cowboy Poem
From: Arkie
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 08:14 PM

I'm glad Lee Hays reincarnation finally showed up. Thanks Rich. Wally McRae supposedly got his inspiration from an older Scottish poem on the subject and adapted it to fit the cowboy imagery. Lee Hays may have created his piece or possibly borrowed from the same place. The Ozark Folk Center folklorist dates the McRae poem to around 1981. Dale Rose found information indicating a date of 1980. Either date would have placed McRae's poem later than that of Hays.


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Subject: RE: Reincarnation, Cowboy Poem
From: raredance
Date: 26 Jan 00 - 08:21 PM

Sorry I messed up Waddy MItchell, whose recording I have, with Wall McRae, the author.

rich r


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Subject: RE: Reincarnation, Cowboy Poem
From: GUEST,Arkie
Date: 27 Jan 00 - 10:47 AM

I messed up too. Dale's information dated the verse at 1982 not 1980.


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Subject: RE: Reincarnation, Cowboy Poem
From: roopoo
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 02:30 AM

Michael Martin Murthy does it on his "Cowboy Songs" album. It's on Warner Bros published 1990 on 9 26308-4. The notes on this track "Where do cowboys go when they die/Reincarnation" says that in this version he and Chick Rains wrote the chorus to the poem written by Wallace McRae in 1983.

mouldy


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Subject: RE: Reincarnation, Cowboy Poem
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Jan 00 - 03:24 AM

Ah, Rich, I'm glad you finally proved I wasn't completely daft. I still haven't found a Lee Hays recording, but Pete Seeger does the Lee Hays version on the Precious Friend (click) CD he did with Arlo Guthrie. By the way, both Seeger-Guthrie CD's are terrific.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: Lyr Add: REINCARNATION (Wallace McRae)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 03 Jan 11 - 02:36 PM

From Cowboy Curmudgeon and Other Poems by Wallace McRae (Salt Lake City: Peregrine Smith Books, ©1992), page 49:

[I have boldfaced the words that are different from the version posted above. I have not marked differences in mere spelling, formatting, or punctuation.]


REINCARNATION
Wallace McRae

"What does reincarnation mean?"
A cowpoke ast his friend.
His pal replied, "It happens when
Yer life has reached its end.
They comb yer hair, and warsh yer neck,
And clean yer fingernails,
And lay you in a padded box
Away from life's travails.

"The box and you goes in a hole,
That's been dug in the ground.
Reincarnation starts in when
Yore planted 'neath a mound.
Them clods melt down, just like yer box,
And you who is inside.
And then yore just beginnin' on
Yer transformation ride.

"In a while, the grass'll grow
Upon yer rendered mound,
Till some day on yer moldered grave
A lonely flower is found.
And say a hoss should wander by,
And graze upon this flower,
That once wuz you, but now's become
Yer vegetative bower.

"The posy that the hoss done ate
Up,
with his other feed,
Makes bone, and fat, and muscle
Essential to the steed.
But some is left that he can't use,
And so it passes through,
And finally lays upon the ground,
This thing that once wuz you.

"Then say, by chance, I wanders by,
And sees this on the ground,
And I ponders, and I wonders at,
This object that I found.
I thinks of reincarnation,
Of life, and death, and such.
I come away concludin': 'Slim,
You ain't changed all that much.' "


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